Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Domestic Extremist Awareness Day

So today was the first ever Domestic Extremist Awareness Day. People tweeted things about themselves that police might consider ‘domestic extremism’. Some of them are pretty funny. I’ve linked to one example and you can find more on the hashtag #DomesticExtremist. Some seem to be genuine quotes from police records. It was a light-hearted stunt to spotlight a rather shadowy operation.

The Guardian journalists Paul Lewis and Rob Evans have reported on the police’s ever-expanding remit for collecting information on active citizens. They say in their book Undercover that domestic extremists are generally described as people who want to ‘prevent something from happening or to change legislation or domestic policy’, often doing so ‘outside of the normal democratic process’. Quite a broad definition.

Anybody can submit a request to the police, under the Data Protection Act, to discover what (if any) information is held about them. Find out how you can do this here and here.

The comedian and activist Mark Thomas tweeted today that after he requested his data the police sent him 63 items over 7 pages.